Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Alexandria and it's marvelous monuments

Alexandria is Egypt's second largest city after Cairo. It holds within it the ruins of the Ptolemaic, Roman, Byzantine, and Islamic eras.

Alexandria has been chosen by the Islamic Education, Science and Culture Organization as the Islamic cultural capital for 2008.

The city, conceived by Alexander of Macedonia, was intended as a Hellenistic center in Egypt, and as the link between Greece and the rich Nile Valley. If such a city was to be on the Egyptian coast, there was only one possible site, behind the screen of Pharos Island and removed from the silt thrown out by the Nile. An Egyptian townlet, Rhakotis, already existed on the shore and was a resort filled with fishermen and pirates.

A few months after the foundation, Alexander left Egypt for the East and never returned to his city. His viceroy, Cleomenes, howver, continued the expansion of the city.

Alexandria was later to become a cultural, political and economic center renowned for its Royal Library.

In 115 AD Alexandria was destroyed during the Jewish-Greek civil wars which gave Hadrian and his architect, Decriannus, an opportunity to rebuild it.

Alexandria was Egypt's capital for over 1000 years, since its establishment until the Arab conquest. Still, it maintained its cultural role, after the capital had moved to al-Fustat, its influence extending to the entire Mediterranean region.

Alexandria library


Museum History:

The Egyptian government established the ‘Service des Antiques de l’Egypte’ in 1835 mainly to halt the plundering of archaeological sites and to arrange the exhibition of the collected artifacts owned by the government. The Azbakian garden in Cairo was first used as a storage place for these artifacts.The collection was later transferred to another building in the citadel of Saladin.

IT contains a lot of wonderful Antiques such as


Egyptian jewelry is among the most fascinating of the ancient treasures. Tasteful jewelry appears early in Egypt, it assumes a high le

vel of professionalism from the first dynasty onward. We see a deep concern on their behalf to create harmonious forms and color combinations. To a greater extent , both gold and semi- precious stones were employed . Silver ,on the other hand was less widely used.

The quality of execution reflects an undefined level of proficiency. Owing to superb Egyptian craftsmanship , the results are readily apparent.


The richness of Egyptian sculpture is truly appreciated through the knowledge of its significance . Egyptian sculpture was purely religious in function. Designed to perpetuate certain desired situations for eternity, sculpture was primarily situated within the boundaries of either a temple or a tomb. An Egyptian statue, for example,underwent several ritualistic performances, after which it was truly ready to 'possess life' .

In spite of the apparent rigidity of Egyptian art, and the clear inclination towards idealism a careful study would show a definite development through the decades. These developments however, evolved within the same artistic framework that was laid at the dawn of Egyptian civilization. Egyptian art indeed offers great attractions, all of which are so vividly displayed that one cannot help but notice its outstanding beauty.


Egypt Nile Cruises from damitta &cairo&luxor&aswan

' A real voyage of discovery'

To fully discover the ancient wonders of Egypt, a cruise on the River Nile is truly an unforgettable experience. The Nile River has been Egypt’s lifeline since ancient times and there is no better way to trace the course of Egypt’s history than to follow the course of the Nile.
Each day gives you every opportunity to explore different sights or simply enjoy a different view. The Discover Egypt cruise introduces you to the remarkable sights of Upper Egypt and is ideal for those who wish to sample the best of Egypt in one tour.
Our Classic Nile Iitinerary takes you from Luxor to Aswan, visiting some of the most spectacular ancient sites in the world including the stunning Valley of the Kings the burial place of Pharoahs including that of Tutankhamen and the breathtaking temples of Karnak and Luxor

Ancient Egypt temples

Writing an introduction to ancient Egypt temples is considerably more difficult then examining any specific structure, for a number of different reasons. First of all, the term "temple" is misleading, and secondly, the term covers a huge variety of different structures that evolved over such a vast period of time that many people have a difficulty comprehending just how long a time this period spans.

For example, think of the Roman Coliseum (in Rome). It is almost 2,000 years old, and most of us would think of it as very ancient. Yet, when the Romans first came to Egypt, they were awe struck by Egyptian temples, some of which at that time were already more ancient to the Romans, then the Roman Coliseum is to us. So we must consider the effect that these temples had on the ancient Egyptians. Imagine the feelings of old tradition and holiness felt by a young priest when he first enters St. Peter's Cathedral in Rome. How must a young Egyptian priest felt as he strolled the courts of the much more temple of Heliopolis, which was much more ancient to him then St. Peter's would be to a young priest of today.

Webster's New World Dictionary defines temple as "1. a building for the worship of god or gods, and 2. A large building for some special purpose". For the second definition, they provide the example, "a temple of art". Neither of these definitions fit the ancient Egyptian temple very well, and yet, almost every religious structure in Egypt outside of the various types of tombs are almost always referred to as temples.

Certainly some of these "temple" structures do embrace both of Webster's definitions. In fact, it is difficult to imagine most any large, ancient building not falling under the second definition, including palaces and governmental buildings. However, our modern readers are more likely to think in terms of the first definition, that of a temple being a place of worship. However, this definition is simply too limited to fit even the structures that many modern Egyptologists better define as a "god's mansion". Even these temples sometimes had many other functions, acting sometimes as fortresses, administrative centers and even concrete expression of propaganda or royal retreats. However, it is difficult to define some other religious structures that are called temples as houses of worship or "god's mansions". They may have other political or all together different purposes.

It was the ancient Egyptian temple that received endowments. It was the mortuary temple and the cult of the dead king that funded the entire pyramid complex of the early kings, for example. Temples owned land, livestock and received donations, sometimes including the spoils of war, in order to support often large populations of priests, workers, and sometimes even an entire support town.

The Temple of Karnak today remains the worlds largest religious structure, but what is perhaps even more interesting is that it might not have been, or indeed was probably not Egypt's largest temple. Certainly the Temple of Ptah in Memphis, though for the most part completely gone today, may have been larger. It was older, and located in what was often the capital of Egypt, and more often the administrative center of the ancient country. Other temples in the Nile Delta might have been just as large as Karnak, if not larger.

Sites such as Karnak, Dendera and Kom Ombo would most likely fall under the category of "god's mansion". They were more then religious "temples" however. While the god may certainly have been worshiped in these temples, it was also his symbolic home, if not considered his physical residence, and the functions of the temple were as much to serve his or her symbolic physical needs as they were for the god's worship. There was probably little or no "preaching" as such, or carrying the message of the god to the people by priests associated with these "temples". Rather the efforts were directed inward, towards the care of the gods.


The Pharaonic Eras:

Prehistoric Period

The history of Egypt during the first two dynasties is somewhat obscure.The little material evidence of this period suggest that king MENES is responsible for the unification of upper and lower Egypt ,and the founding of a new capital at Memphis.

The early dynastic period was a time of experimentation, that paved the way fort the evolution of Egypt's unique artistic and religious conventions.

Old Kingdom

The old kingdom represents an important phase in Egypt's political and cultural development. Almost five centuries of continuos progress, lay the foundation to one of the most influential cultures of the ancient world It was during this crucial period that Hieroglyphic writing reached a reasonable level of sophistication and the techniques of crafts came to a high level of professionalism. King DJOSER , owner of the step pyramid at Saqqara, is the first and most celebrated king of the third dynasty.

The works of CHEOPS, CHEPHREN, and MYCERINUS , the creators of the three pyramids at Giza represents the peak of achievements in the architectural field. A strong centralized government , as well as a divine kingship characterize this period , but towards the end of the period, central authority disintegrated and the country fell into a state of rapid decline.

Middle Kingdom

The re-establishment of a single administration for the whole country was achieved by MENTUHOTEP II. The middle kingdom was a period of revival of the Egyptian character. The kings of the eleventh dynasty were able to exert control over the land and located their capital in IST-TAWY (near modern El-LISHT) The kings of the twelfth dynasty promoted the economic and political development ;Egyptian trade flourished, and an elaborate irrigation system was again established.

There was also a reversion to pyramid building , but it was undertaken on a much humbler level as compared with the old kingdom. Unfortunately, this revival was followed by the ultimate downfall of the central government and the country fell into the hands of foreign rulers.

New Kingdom

It was during this period that Egypt reached the zenith of its glory. Vast military expansions both in Asia and the Sudan were undertaken by the Egyptian ruler.
TUTMOSIS III was among the pioneers in the military field. The degree of refinement of this age is clearly manifested in the architectural heritage. Under the rule of queen HATSHIPSUT, the artistic revival began .

The reigning monarchs of this period showed a genuine interest in art and architecture. AKHENATON, the heretic pharaoh, reached the peak of artistic innovations with his unique art style that accompanied his religious reformation. Indeed, it is to the powerful kings of this kingdom that the capital, Thebes, owes its present allure.

Late Period

The late period was on the whole a period of deterioration. The office of kingship suffered a decline in prestige, and the political and social systems were unstable. Egypt was now ruled from two separate capitals, one in the north and one in the south. Also, large foreign colonies were established within Egyptian territories .

The influence of the state god Amun was dispersed among other minor city-gods, but Amon still retained some of his previous power ,at least in Upper Egypt.Political and social instability and the power of the Egyptian pharaohs was weak and challenged by other forces in the countery .Larg foreign colonies developed and Egypt for the first time opened its borders to the foreigners who settled in the delta.

for more information click here

pictures from the Pharaonic Eras:


Monday, December 8, 2008

Cultural Tourism

Cultural and archeological tourism are considered the traditional kind of tourism in Egypt.Egypt embraces several Pharaonic, Greek and Roman historic antiquities and museums.Culturual tourism has started since the discovery of ancient Egyptian antiquities and the decipher of the hieroglyhics.
Ever since, missions of archeology, explorers and authors of tourist books were very keen on visting Egypt and documenting its astonishing past and promising future.

The Pharaonic, Roman and Greek sites in Egypt
1-Cairo,Giza : Sud Al-kafara, Aon city, Pyramid plateau, Sakara and, Dahshour.
2-Alexandria: El-aamoud Sawari, the Romantheatre, the Roman Baths, The Black Head temple, Qum Saqofa tomb.
A.LuxorCity,karanak temple, Luxor temple, Happi temple, Valley of kings, Valley of Queens, Dir El medina, mummification Museum at Luxor. B.Aswan City,: Abu Simbel Museum the big&small,Philiea Island.Plants Island (EL Nabatat Island )
C.Biliana City : Abidous
D.Qina City : Nadra Museum
E. Menya City : El Amarma hill
F.Beni Suef City : Archaeological Modern area.Al- Ashmounin City, Tunna el-Gabl .
4- Sinai : Almagara paintings, Sarabit el khadem, Moses Mountain, Serbal Mountain.
5- Fayoum City : Al-Lahoun Pyramid, Hawara Pyramid, Senosirt Obelisks& Madi city.
6-The Oasis:
A.El-kharagaoasis: Hipistemple, Elbagwattomb, El Queta temple, El Riyan Qasr , El Riyan temple, Qasr el Dine.
B.El-DakhlaOasis:Mot, Bashanditomb, Islamaic&Pharaonic Ballat Village, El Haggar Monastry, Islamic Qasr Village.
C.Siwa Oasis: Juibter Amun temple ElGazina temple, theDead Mountain, Tanoboaat(Prophecies )temple.
D. El Bahariya Oasis: It contains 268 sulpher& minerals springs.
E.ParisOasis:Doushtemple,ElFarafaraOasis,Itcontains ElFarafaraQasr,Abou ManakaraQasr .
Coptic Monuments
1-Churches:HagingChurch, VirginMary, AbouSeirgaChurch, Mar GirgrisChurch, St Mena, Church of Saint Barbara, Cathedral of Abbasiya.
2- Monastaries:Monastery of St Antonius, Norton Valley in western Desert, AnbaPaula, El Anba Adra, St katerine Monastery of el Abyad, Moharrah Monastery, Monastery of Marmarina El Agayabi.

Islamic Monuments

1-Mosques: Mosque of Amr Ibn El-Aas, El-Hussein Mosque, Sayyida Zeinab Mosque, Al Shafai Mosque, Al-Azhar Mosque, Sultan Hassan Mosque , Ahmed Ibn Toulun Mosque,el Hakem Biamr Allah, Mohammad Ali Mosque, El Rifai, El Nour mosque, El Mahamal Road Sinai.
2-Islamic Fortresses: Salah El Din Citadel, katabi Citadel, El Akaba Citadel, El Goundi, El Tore, el Arish, Nubaia in Sinai.
3-Museums: Egyptian Museum, Islamic Art, El-Gawhara Qasr, Greek Qasr, ElManial Qasr, Mahmoud Mokhtar, Mohammed Mahmoudkhalil, Egyptian Coptic Art, Mahmoud Saied in Alexandria, Maritimein Alexandria, Aswan Museum in Aswan, Agriculture Museum.
Milita at El Alameen, Mersa Matrouh, Nagi, Railways lines, Mansoura Museumlocatedat Luqman, Donshawi Musuemposts, El Shama (waxen) museum. Also the Mummification Museum at the Pharoanic Village.